There’s a term in military affairs called the Decision Cycle. It pretty much refers to the amount of time it takes an individual or an organization to figure out what’s going on, decide what to do about it, and then get around to implementing their plan.
The acme of the general’s art is to gain the initiative. Make the enemy react to what you’re doing. The opposing force’s officers will be sitting around, scratching their heads, wondering what your doing and what they should be doing about it while your forces gain their objectives and win the war.
Moving faster than the enemy can react is called “getting inside their decision cycle.”
I started to blog because I could get the news faster than by using the traditional media outlets. On the average a breaking story would start to make the blogosphere’s rounds a good two days before it hit the front page of my local newspaper. By the time it was considered a major item it had already been discussed to death and just about every blogger had moved on to something else. As long as you keep a sharp nose out for someone trying to pass out some bullshit you could be better informed than anyone who didn’t read the blogs.
So CBS, a traditional news outlet if there ever was one, is caught up in a forgery scandal. Less than 48 hours after the documents were used in a 60 Minutes II segment, Dan Rather went on the air in an effort to rebut the evidence that the damning memos were faked.
Not surprisingly, most bloggers who saw Rather’s rebuttal aren’t impressed.
(As Murdoch states in the post I just linked, any military command generates huge amounts of documents. It should be easy to find a few stacks of memos from the same office, written at the same time, that look like the suspect forms. Doing so would easily and decisively rebut any claims of forgery. That hasn’t been done yet, and somehow I don’t think it’s going to happen.)
But what’s more amazing to me is that this Associated Press wire report is essentially fisking Rather’s explanations. It was available online less than an hour after Rather was on the air. Not only that, but they actually have their own document expert on record saying that she’d be willing to swear in court that the TANG memos are faked.
The blogs are inside Big Media’s decision cycle. BM (heh) better adapt or there’s going to be more excrutiating embarrassments ahead for them.
The biggest defense that CBS can use is that there was equipment available that could have produced the same results as Miscrosoft Word and a modern desktop printer.
So could a top-of-the-line typewriter from 1973 produce identical documents? J. Harrell at The Shape of Days has contacted a typewriter enthusiast that has working equipment from the period. Click on over and read the evidence for yourself.